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For the week of Oct. 6, 1999 through Oct. 12, 1999

Bond survey shows need for education

Express Staff Writer

A Blaine County Recreation District bond survey found that many people don’t know the facts about the proposed bond issue, but that the more people knew about the bond issue the more likely they were to vote yes.

The telephone survey asked 102 residents county-wide about their awareness of the community recreation bond, their knowledge of the proposed bond amount and the projects to be included in the bond issue.

Of the Blaine County residents surveyed, 34.3 percent said they weren’t aware of the bond proposal. Only 26.9 percent knew the amount of the bond the recreation district is proposing; and 20 percent didn’t know any details as to what facilities are to be included in the bond proposal.

Asked how they would vote on the $11.85 million bond issue, respondents answered 49 percent yes, 28.4 percent no, 13.7 percent maybe, and 8.8 percent that they didn’t know how they would vote.

A two-thirds vote is required for passage.

In a breakdown of approval city by city, the survey showed: "yes" votes would come from 63.6 percent of Ketchum’s registered voters; 66.7 percent of those north of Ketchum; 44.4 percent of those in Sun Valley and Elkhorn; 60 percent of those between Ketchum and Hailey; 40 percent of those in Hailey; 75 percent of those between Hailey and Bellevue; 30 percentof those in Bellevue; 40 percent of those south of Bellevue; and 50 percent of those elsewhere in the county.

The random telephone survey was administered by Pennsylvania-based Diagnostics Plus and was conducted between Sept. 22 and Sept. 26 at a cost of $3,500.

As a result of the survey, the recreation district, the Blaine County Youth Partnership and volunteers on the Community Recreation Bond Committee will be working hard in the next month to insure that residents of the Wood River Valley understand the proposal and the issues involved.

The projects that would be funded by the Community Recreation Bond and estimated costs include:

 North Valley Aquatic Center, $5.3 million.

 Community Recreation Center, $5.8 million.

 Mid-Valley Active Park, $700,000.

 South Valley projects, $70,000.

The North Valley Aquatic Center, to be located at Ketchum’s Park ‘n Ride lot at the corner of Saddle and Warm Springs roads, would include:

 A 7,500-square-foot leisure pool with four lanes for lap swimming, a shallow section for young children and a water slide.

 Two large natural hot water pools and three smaller therapy pools in a naturally landscaped setting.

The Community Recreation Center, to be located in Hailey adjacent to Wood River High school, would include:

 A 9,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness center.

 A 7,250-square-foot gymnasium.

 A 4,000-square-foot community center and teen lounge.

 Additional exercise rooms, community meeting room, daycare and recreation district offices.

 An 8,500-square-foot indoor aquatic center.

 A 2,500-square-foot outdoor kids pool.

The Mid-Valley Active Park proposed for Ohio Gulch would include:

 Fields for soccer, rugby and Frisbee recreation.

 A hard-surface court for such sports as roller hockey and tennis.

 Picnic areas.

The south valley projects would include:

 A small park in Gannett.

 Park improvements in Picabo and Carey.

In an effort to provide residents with every opportunity to learn about the bond election and the facilities being proposed, the recreation district will continue its schedule of 25 days of forums which began last month and will continue through October.

The forum scheduled for this week includes the following times, dates and locations:

 Atkinsons’ Market in Ketchum, on Wednesday from 3-6 p.m.

 Northridge Neighborhood meeting, on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

 Hailey Rotary, Thursday at 12 noon.

 Brown bag lunch, Friday at 12 noon at the recreation district office in Hailey, and to be continued every Monday through October.

The rec district, along with Sun Valley Living, will also provide an education web site to inform residents about the bond issue. The site is scheduled to go on-line today. The address for the web site can be obtained by calling the rec district office at 788-2117.

Passage of the Community Recreation Bond in the Nov. 2 election would result in a property tax increase of $12.85 per $100,000 property valuation.

The success of bond proposals in past elections has varied.

Historically, a two-thirds vote is difficult to achieve on any issue in any community, particularly where a number of people live on fixed incomes.

However, a bond election in 1988 for the recreation district’s Wood River Valley Trails system received an 80 percent approval rating from Blaine County voters. According to recreation district director Mary Austin Crofts, after 10 years, the majority of the community considers the trails system to be a great investment for the Wood River Valley.



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